PTSD–An Unspoken Fear for Military Families

4 ways we can help our military heroes get the treatment and help they deserve in dealing with PTSD

Posted in , Jun 9, 2015

Guideposts: How to help military families affected by PTSD

June is national PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) awareness month. While we all rejoice that this dreaded disorder is garnering more public attention, its very mention strikes fear in military families.

For every deployment, every challenging assignment, we pray first for our loved one’s safety and then for protection from this illness. At its most severe, PTSD can be personality-changing and life-threatening. In less intense variations, it can cause everything from sleeplessness to flashback nightmares, phobias and fears.

As of 2014, the number of modern veterans diagnosed with this disorder tops 350,000. But this isn’t a recent disease. In World Wars I and II, it was labeled combat fatigue. 

Click here to learn more about Veterans Awareness Month and what you can do to help.

As more and more people understand PTSD, the public shame around the disease is decreasing, however not fast enough; it’s still prevalent among too many members of our military. It’s okay for my buddy to seek help, but not me...

So what can we do to help make sure our heroes get the treatment they need?

1)  Know what PTSD really is.
Post-traumatic stress disorder can occur when someone has been through a traumatic event. While most affected people may initially have some symptoms, whether or not someone develops full-blown PTSD depends on many different factors:

  • The intensity of the trauma and/or how long it lasted
  • How close the person was to the trauma
  • Whether the person felt a loss of control
  • How much help a person got after the initial event

2)  Know the symptoms.
Here are some of the most common symptoms, although this isn’t an exhaustive list:

  • Flashbacks or reliving the experience
  • Negative changes in beliefs and/or feelings
  • Avoidance of similar situations
  • Hyperarousal, or a feeling of hyperawareness

3)  Know the associated issues.
Frequently, vets can have other issues directly related to PTSD:

  • Depression or anxiety
  • Employment issues
  • Marital or relational issues
  • Physical symptoms, such as chronic pain
  • Addictive behavior, including alcohol and drugs

4)  Know the many ways to get help.
There are a myriad of treatment plans and actions, and most show a good degree of success. The key to wellness is finding a treatment plan that the person who is suffering will stick with. The place to start is the local Veteran’s Hospital. You can also visit the website for the National Center for PTSD.

In addition, there are many local organizations that offer support and are run by veterans who know the struggles personally.

For a vet in a crisis situation, these are the options you need to consider:

  • Call 911
  • Visit the emergency room
  • Contact the Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 or text 838255.

Together we can show those suffering in silence that there is hope. I’d love to hear your stories of PTSD.

Help our veterans! Click here to learn how you can give our heroes hope and inspiration all year long.

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